Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lateral Flexions and Engaging the Inside Hindleg

...is what we worked on today in our lesson with Karen Brown. When you ask for a lateral flexion (by bending too far to the inside with the inside rein and activating the haunches with the inside leg) it is important to remember to follow through by engaging the horse's inside hindleg. This causes the horse to bear more weight onto the hindquarter during the support phase of the stride which lowers the croup and lightens the forehand (from "Glossary of Judging Terms" USDF Directory).
We also snuck in one flying change today. The key in preparing for the flying change is to make sure the horse is very STRAIGHT (straightness is defined as improved alignment and balance, allowing the horse to engage both hind legs evenly, with improved lateral as well as longitudinal balance of the horse). An exercise that helped us prepare for flying change of lead today: Begin collected canter, say on the right lead. Turn down centerline at C and leg yield toward F. Again, turn down the next centerline at A, then (still in right lead canter) change the bend to the left while maintaining the aids for right lead canter and leg yield (think counter canter) toward M. Before the corner and M, and only when the horse is very straight (remember this means cantering with good alignment, balance, with the hindlegs engaged and good lateral and longitudinal balance), then ask for the flying change of lead by stepping into the "new" inside (left) stirrup and giving a bump with the rider's new outside (right) leg. Things will fall apart quickly if the horse is allowed to canter on the forehand or the rider becomes un-organized, so it is absolutely necessary (and extremely helpful!) that the horse remains Straight.

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